After publicly criticizing the use of military tribunals, the actor Danny Glover has become one of the latest victims of the war on free speech.
On November 16, at the invitation of the local Amnesty International chapter, Danny Glover gave a speech about the death penalty to a packed auditorium at Princeton University. While his speech was enthusiastically received at first, it became the subject of controversy when, following the lecture, a young person asked the actor whether he would extend his opposition to the death penalty to Osama bin Laden. Glover affirmed his opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances.
The provocative exchange continued, with Danny Glover noting that America has been a key purveyor of violence in this world. Glover also voiced his objections to the military tribunals that President Bush has created.
These comments have elicited a hailstorm of outrage. For two weeks The Trentonian newspaper ran angry comments suggesting that if Danny Glover didn't love this country he should leave it. Meanwhile, Oliver North broadcast the story across the country on his Radio America show, urging his audience to boycott The Royal Tenenbaums a movie that was released last Friday in which Danny Glover stars alongside other prominent actors. More recently, in Modesto, California, the controversy caused the City Council to withdraw its sponsorship of Glover as the featured speaker for the celebration of Martin Luther King Day.
We turn now to a reading Danny Glover gave recently of a speech written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He performed the speech at an event called Mother Courage: Imaging Peace, which was presented by the international women's human rights organization, MADRE (www.MADRE.org). MADRE organized Mother Courage in support of the women and children of Afghanistan.